Gun violence in Minneapolis was down over the past month compared to the same period in recent years, a change that city officials say shows a new slate of interventions is working.
From Sept. 24 to Oct. 29, Minneapolis received 739 gun-related calls for service, a 30% decrease from the same time frame in 2021. Reported gunshot wounds fell 29% — from 49 to 35 — and the city saw 28 carjackings compared with last year's 79.
At a news conference Monday, city officials touted the data as early evidence that a new partnership between police, prosecutors and violence prevention teams is working. The effort, dubbed Operation Endeavor, is the latest attempt by law enforcement leaders and elected officials to show they have a handle on violent crime in Minneapolis — an issue that's become central to the upcoming midterm election.
"Our goal here is that we'll be able to pinpoint — each and every day and every hour, using our analytics — where we need to be as quickly and as resourcefully as we can. And that certainly has been working for us," said Cedric Alexander, who oversees the city's police, fire, 911, emergency management and neighborhood safety departments in his role as Minneapolis community safety commissioner.
Officials did not provide specifics about how Operation Endeavor, which launched earlier this fall, played a part in causing the decline in gun violence over the 28-day period.
"Is Operation Endeavor the only reason that we are seeing improvements? Of course not," Mayor Jacob Frey said. "There's a lot of multifaceted work that is happening from a number of different agencies, both within and without the city."
But Minneapolis Police Cmdr. Jason Case, who coordinates the effort, said 2021's record-high trends likely would have continued into this year had the city not acted.
The city's new methods of communication and coordination across departments and outside agencies have allowed Minneapolis to more efficiently deploy its limited resources where they're needed most, Case said. Minneapolis has lost about 300 police officers since the murder of George Floyd in 2020.
Depending on what police and their partners are hearing and seeing, the city could deploy patrol squads, undercover officers or violence "interrupters" that help connect individuals with services. Community groups and nonprofit partners also help with nonviolent intervention and intelligence sharing, according to a report from the city. Additionally, efforts by the Hennepin County Attorney's Office have helped lead to criminal charges in a few dozen cases, the report said.
The city also has partnered with agencies including the U.S. Attorney's Office, the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, the State Patrol, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, the FBI and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives.
Frey said Operation Endeavor does not have its own budget, with the exception of some money for police overtime shifts. The city's new community safety office is instead coordinating existing funding streams.
"This is the very first time that we are able to provide this comprehensive model in full," the mayor said. "We know that we've seen a drop in violent crime — and specifically gun-related violent crime — over these 28 days that Operation Endeavor has been at full force. Is it the only cause of that drop? Of course not. But we know that it's working."